FINALLY ON TRACK? Drivers Sergio Perez (right) and Nico Hulkenberg with Force India's 2015 car during a media event in Mexico City. The team is booked to, at last, test its new race car on track in Spain. Image: AP / Eduardo Verdugo
LONDON, England - Force India will have a maximum of three days of testing with its 2015 Formula 1 car before the start of the season after the team said it would not debut in Spain until Friday (Feb 27).
Force India's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer said: "The VJM08 will arrive in Barcelona on Friday morning and the final set up will take place in the garage at the track."
"We're aiming to get out on Friday and the new car will run as much as possible over the weekend."
FINAL TEST SESSION
Formula 1's final pre-season test will start today (Feb 26 2015) and end on Sunday (March 1) then cars and freight will be packed for Australia and the first race on March 15.
Force India, sixth overall in 2014 but whose owners have had financial troubles, missed the first test in Jerez in January 2015. It took part in the second test in Barcelona with Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg driving the team's 2014 car because the new one was not ready.
Szafnauer said the new Mercedes-powered car had progressed well and been fired up at the factory Silverstone, England. "We have seen a tremendous effort from every department over the previous few months to get us to this stage and we're looking forward to seeing the car take to the track."
The winter months (northern hemisphere) are some of the most challenging for cash-strapped teams which have to meet the cost of building a new car while revenue payments from the commercial rights holder are not received until March.
Force India's two major co-owners are Indian drinks tycoon Vijay Mallya and (jailed) Sahara Group chairman Subrata Roy. Each has hit trouble in India with a number of largely state-run Indian banks seeking repayment of the equivalent of more than R11-billion in loans from Mallya's failed Kingfisher Airlines which has not flown since 2012.
Roy has been held in a New Delhi jail since March 2014 and needs to post bail of about R18-billion following a court order for Sahara Group to refund billions of dollars invested in outlawed bonds.Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.